When it comes to planning your wedding, there will be plenty of important choices to make – ranging from the enormous to the teeny tiny. Many of these choices will be optional, but one of the biggest will be making sure you choose the right venue. After all, it’s where you and your guests will spend the entire day and can’t be changed once the big day arrives.
As you work out your wedding budget, you’ll need to make sure you dedicate enough toward your ideal venue. Whether it’s a hotel, a golf course, a vineyard, a village hall, or anywhere else you want to marry that special someone, you’ll need to budget accordingly.
Below, we’re going to take a look at the average cost of a wedding venue, what’s included in that cost, and any unexpected fees you should look out for.
With the average total cost of a wedding in the UK rising to £19,184, over a third of that cost is likely to go towards the venue. In 2023, the average cost of a wedding venue is around £7,500-£8,000 (£7,683 to be exact). Of course, this figure can vary dramatically depending on different factors, including the type of venue and where in the country the venue is located.
For example, our 2023 UK Wedding Report found that couples in London pay an average of £10,000 for their venue, compared to Yorkshire and The Humber where the average is £6,300. However, that’s not to say that one is better than the other – it’s all a matter of taste, what’s right for you, and how far you and your guests want to travel.
It’s also important to remember that you won’t necessarily have to travel great distances to find a venue that works for your budget. For instance, venue prices at London Shenley Club, found in beautiful Hertfordshire, start from as low as £550.
However, if you do have a larger budget to play with, luxury venues such as Oxfordshire’s Weston Manor Hotel and London’s iconic Ritz Hotel offer spectacular premium locations for couples looking to get married somewhere extra special.
There’s a range of wedding venues available across the UK, so whatever your budget you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something to your taste:
The type of wedding venue you choose affects the price, with certain types of venue costing significantly more than others on average. According to our 2023 UK Wedding Report, couples are more likely to spend the most on venues for weddings at castles, stately homes and country houses, and the least on registry offices, places of worship and restaurants.
Here’s a breakdown of the average cost depending on the venue type, based on data gathered from almost 4,000 couples married and engaged in 2022:
The cost of the venue will include rental of the space itself, however, it can also include additions and the use of certain facilities, such as:
Exactly what’s included in the cost of the venue is something that you’ll need to confirm with the venue. For example, some venues won’t have catering facilities and will require you to arrange your own vendors. For more information check out our post featuring questions to ask your wedding venue.
Mark Dawson, the former owner and operator of Brookfield Barn and expert on all things venue-related, explains why wedding venues are often so expensive:
“Couples benefit from being “one-time customers” that venues are trying to attract and therefore price is a key lever. The venue market has become extremely competitive with diminishing margins. So many features at the top of couples’ lists come with high maintenance costs. For example, listed and historic buildings, extensive grounds. Remember you are paying such that the venue is maintained in a way to be at its best on your big day – and every other couple has the same expectation.”
“Exclusivity on your day means you are the sole revenue stream for the venue. So when faced with budget challenges, take time to prioritise what is most important. Is it exclusivity on the day for your wedding, is it the historic setting, is it the extensive grounds, is it having it for multiple days to set up and clear up, is it having lots of staff support from the venue for planning it all – they all drive the price point that the venue needs to continue to operate.”
We’ve already highlighted how the type and location can affect the cost of a venue, but there are plenty of factors that can contribute towards how much you might pay for your dream venue.
Naturally, the higher the number of guests you’d like to invite, the larger the venue will need to be. Of course, it makes sense that a venue with a 30-person capacity will usually be more affordable than one that can accommodate several hundred.
Where you are in the UK plays a huge part in how much you’ll pay for a venue. For instance, couples in London will pay around 50% more than the national average.
As you might imagine, venue prices vary depending on the season. When it comes to choosing a wedding date, spring, summer, and even autumn dates are more popular than winter. As a result, you’ll likely find that it’s more affordable to secure a date in January or February than it is in July or August.
Similarly, Fridays and the weekend – particularly Saturday – are more expensive than weekdays, as well as specific dates like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve.
Here’s a breakdown of the average cost of a wedding venue depending on the day of the week, based on our 2023 UK Wedding Report:
It may be possible to grab a bargain if you’re open to a last-minute booking during off-peak times or based on a cancellation – though this risks you missing out by catching vendors and guests off-guard. Here at Bridebook, we offer late availability deals at many of our partner venues – just filter by ‘Special Offers’ when searching for a wedding venue.
The majority of wedding venues will have packages that can include anything from a glass of bubbly for the guests on arrival to a free stay for the newlyweds on the night. If you definitely don’t want one of these, you can ask your chosen venue if they can exclude some items to give you a lower price.
According to our 2023 UK Wedding Report, two thirds of couples choose venues that include catering in their offering. However, couples also spend £3,000 more on average for venues that include catering, making venues that don’t include catering the cheaper option when considering just the venue alone.
Exclusive use of the wedding venue means that you and your guests will be the only ones on the premises during your special day, so you don’t need to worry about anybody accidentally stumbling in and helping themselves to the buffet. Normally, venues that offer exclusivity will charge slightly more, but it’s definitely worth it.
When speaking with the venue, you should clarify early on what is and isn’t covered, otherwise you may find yourselves being hit with one or two (or six or seven!) surprise costs that can cause your budget to spiral.
Some potential hidden fees to be mindful of include:
Once you’ve chosen your venue and signed on the dotted line, there may be additional costs to bear in mind to make sure it’s decorated to perfectly match your tastes. Decoration hire, such as unique lighting and features, may not be included in the cost and is another cost to factor into your budget.
Are you planning your wedding and umming and ahhing over the perfect venue Bridebook’s wedding planning tools provide you with everything you need to find your venues, caterers, photographers, music and more!
And if you’re looking for ways to save money on your wedding venue, we’ve got plenty of money-saving tips to help you stay firmly within your budget.